WINDHOEK, 11 JUN – Former Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Paulus Kapia, found guilty in the N$30 million Avid Investment and Social Security Commission (SSC) fraud scandal, on Monday asked the court not to send him to prison.
High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg last month found Kapia, 51, guilty on the main charge of fraud for his involvement in getting the money from the SSC after the little-known Avid Asset Management Company had secured the investment with the State-owned company.
The former deputy minister asked the court to give him a second chance and not to impose a direct custodial sentence as he said he did not benefit from the missing N$30 million.
Kapia asked the court to show mercy and impose a wholly suspended sentence or hand down a punishment in the form of a fine.
He said this in his evidence in mitigation of sentencing and when his personal circumstances were placed before court by his privately-instructed defence lawyer, Sisa Namandje.
“My client has expressed genuine remorse and wholeheartedly regretted that Social Security Commission lost the money. Kapia is saddened by the fact that public money is missing. He has also not committed any offence over the past 13 years during the duration of this case’s trial. Kapia should be given a second chance,” said Namandje.
He further told the court that Kapia paid for his criminal deeds when he lost his ministerial position and a house in Pionierspark in Windhoek as a result of his involvement in the Avid/Social Security Commission fraud scandal.
“The fitting and appropriate sentence in connection with Kapia’s conviction is a wholly suspended sentence or punishment in the form of paying a fine,” said Namandje.
Kapia went into exile at the age of 21 in 1988.
He was a soldier in the Swapo Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia and the secretary of the Swapo Party Youth League between 2002 and 2007.
Kapia is a married father of three minor children.
Other convicts in the Avid/SSC fraud scandal are Avid Investment Administrative Secretary, Inez //Gases; former Acting Secretary-General of the National Youth Council, Ralph Blaauw; his wife, Sharon Blaauw and Windhoek businessman and Chief Executive Officer of Namangol Asset Management Company, Nico Josea.
Kapia, //Gases and the Blaauw couple had their bail of N$10 000 each reinstated as per requests by their defence lawyers.
Josea, however, was sent to the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility’s holding cells after the court refused to entertain his request for the reinstatement of bail.
Petrie Theron appeared for //Gases, while Gilroy Kasper represented the Blaauw couple.
Slysken Makando appeared for Josea.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Ed Marondedze assisted by State advocates Cliff Lutibezi and Salomon Kanyemba appeared for the prosecution.
The presentation of mitigating evidence in respect of //Gases, the Blaauw couple and Josea was set for today.